NY Mirror

Meanwhile, The Little Dog Laughed and so did I, most notably whenever JULIE WHITE was working her own magic. White plays a lesbian agent who maneuvers two sets of gay characters back into the closet, though after two hours of her fabulous eyeball rolling and pop culture quoting, you sense that she's the one who's most closeted about being a gay man. In fact, she's clearly no lesbian at all—she's a total drag queen from Lips!

While that play brings gay Hollywood to Broadway, gay Broadway goes back to the movies with The History Boys, and "they didn't ruin it!" as I gleefully screeched to star RICHARD GRIFFITHS at a special screening last week. Director NICHOLAS HYTNER confessed that he didn't wring every possible laugh out of the material because they didn't realize how to play certain bits until they got to New York (after the movie was completed), but hey, they can always film it again. As I heard the regal FRANCES DE LA TOUR intone to a friend, "I was in the play and now the movie. I don't think it's ever going to end!" Pause. "And why should it? It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience." Good addendum.


Standing on ceremony: Catherine O'Hara
photo: Nicholas Burnham
Standing on ceremony: Catherine O'Hara

FOR RICHER OR PURIM

On another plane, CATHERINE O'HARA's place in CHRISTOPHER GUEST's demented ensemble will hopefully never end. She's a regular riot in For Your Consideration, his new spoof of awards mania and his first dip into a narrative experience. And what a narrative. O'Hara plays Marilyn Hack, the star of Home for Purim—an overheated potboiler about a Yiddish-speaking family in the deep South—who hears Oscar buzz about herself and becomes so transformed she practically thinks she can get into Avalon.

"Have you ever witnessed that kind of sickness in the biz?" I asked the SCTV vet over fruit salad at the Waldorf Towers last week. "I've seen people lose and be very upset," O'Hara admitted. "Shellshocked, like they've gotten horrible news about their family." But her husband, production designer BO WELCH, has a much healthier attitude, of course. "He's been nominated four times," related O'Hara, "and he says, 'I'm not gonna win. I know how it works'—even though he deserves to. But by time you get there, all your friends are saying, 'Of course you're gonna win!' Somehow they feel they have to encourage you and you get sucked in."

Consideration should be nominated just for the fact that the cast members were given elaborate résumés and backstories for their characters. It turns out Hack was a big hit playing a blind prostitute, went on to appear in a prime-time hospital drama, and currently voices two Japanese characters on an animated kiddie show. "She's a workhorse actress," said O'Hara, "who doesn't question the script or the authority of the director, even if it's Jay [the meshuggeneh one for Home for Purim, played by Guest himself]."

But come on, woman, could a movie like Purim actually get made, let alone nominated? "Anything can get made," O'Hara replied, drolly. "Look around!" I glanced out the window and saw a big sign for The Santa Clause 3. Point taken. Now on to getting rid of the main asshole.


musto@villagevoice.com

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